How do I stay focused and become successful as an entrepreneur?

February 3, 2015, 6:20 PM UTC
Photograph by Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Answer by Paul Howey, CEO & Founder at Talkroute

In my opinion, being an entrepreneur is to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

My number one goal is to surround myself with people much smarter and more talented then myself. You could say there is nothing special about me in terms of skills and you would probably be right. I’m just insanely persistent.

If you really want to start a business, the first step is to find something you are passionate about and then solve a problem within that industry.

Once you have a solution to a problem, the road to turning that solution into a business becomes much more clear.

Answer by Madhav Sekar, Student, Marketer, RuckusMaker

There are a number of things you can do. For starters, you have to put yourself in the right mindset. Don’t be held down by what you’ve been like in the past, one of the main keys to success, which is often underestimated, is personal growth and development.

Here is a basic guide to improving yourself and setting yourself up for success.

  1. Read a lot. Every successful person is an avid reader of books or newspapers. In order to succeed you must be a “lifelong learning machine”, as Charlie Munger, puts it.
  2. Surround yourself in the right environment. People constantly talk about willpower and discipline, but those are overrated. Your ability to be successful is highly dependent on the environment you place yourself in. They say you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Find local entrepreneurship or business clubs/meetups. Try and join online discussions/Facebook groups. Reach out to people you admire.
  3. Start working on side projects. Most successful businesses have in fact started out as side projects. Facebook was something Mark Zuckerberg wanted to do for fun in college. Google was at first just an attempt to solve a problem, not create a massive company. You don’t need tons of skills to start a project. Start with what you know and as your projects evolve you’ll pick up new skills.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone – try and do things that scare you, so you get used to handling tough situations and rejections. One thing I recommend is the 30 day cold shower challenge. This is incredibly hard/terrifying, but it actually has a tremendous impact on your personal growth.
  5. Get in the mindset of creating value for others – people have the false idea that to be successful you have to extract money/value from others. While in reality, the money and success you receive, is directly proportional to the amount of value you create and the difficulty of problems you solve. …

Remember all of this will be hard work. You have to make a commitment to constantly reading and educating yourself. Thankfully, investing in yourself is also fun and incredibly rewarding.

This question originally appeared on Quora: How do I stay focused an become successful?

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